Surface & Strategies - Weeks 11 & 12

Week 11 started quietly with various catch-up activities. On Tuesday I spent half-a-day at the Central St. Martin's Library updating my research on my shopkeepers project and getting better grounding in the new sub-project area of self-portraiture. Being between terms their library was quiet, no difficult sitting anywhere on any floor for a change.

They also had good free WiFi that allowed me to watch and listen to this weeks presentation by Andrew Jackson. Currently based in Kingston, Jamaica, he gave a fascinating talk about some of his urban photography roots, and an insightful illustration about documenting migration. 

Library-wise it was reasonably successful, I was able to borrow three books; Staging the Self: Self-Portrait Photography 1940's - 1980's. This was really the catalogue of an exhibition that had been held at The National Portrait Gallery in late 86/early 87. As well as a number of very pertinent images it had an historical review as the introduction and a number of interesting articles by  various commentators on self-portraiture. Chevrier summarized the essential situation in his article "The image of the Other" that "Every Self-Portrait, even the simplest and least staged, is the portrait of another". Another very quotable statement was by Butler who said in his "How do I look" article: "to photograph oneself in invariably a schizoid undertaking”. I have to agree, there is an odd feeling being both the subject and the photographer, though I think my scientific background and analytical leanings helps on that one.  

The second was a 'proper' book; 'Striking resemblance:the changing art of portraiture'. It should be an interesting read. The last was almost an afterthought. "Russian Self Portraits" is a bit of an odd book. A record of an artistic enterprise that took place in the US pavilion of an international arts event in Kiev. At the time the iron curtain was very firmly shut, 1977., the time of Breshnev. The book is largely photographs taken by different Russian visitors of themselves, and sometimes their partner or family. Early selfies of a sort maybe. Here's a few examples:

 The next day Wendy McMurdo, the leader of my next module 'The Final Major Project', gave me an introductory briefing over a 30 minute 1-1 webinar. I was left with  the impression is was to be very different in approach from the first four modules and will be very 'real'. I now have to put together a set of images supporting whatever my final choice is for Final Major Project. Wendy would be happy for me to put two alternative proposals forward, but that  does seem a bit like ducking the decision. I'll think about it. Then in a way it's back to the start, producing a detailed research proposal etc. It will be interesting to compare it to the one I did at the end of the introductory module at the start of the course.

The following day I undertook what proved to be quite a lengthy shoot, attempting to capture a self-portrait of myself in the reflection for the desktop wireless mouse I have used daily for a number of years.

There were two potential reflective surfaces. The first a very narrow chrome band that went around the mouse, the second a reflection on the black surface of th convex shapeof the back of the mouse. To aid composition I positioned it where it usually is, very close to the side of my keyboard.

This did not prove at all easy. These were the better results achieved.

While I was able to get capture small reflection in the chrome strip on the mouse, in the end I chose one of the larger image captures reflected on the back of the mouse for my 'Work in Progress' portfolio. Having the keyboard and fingers included seemed to be effective. Showing pretty much my 'real world' situation.

I followed up my library research with a little internet searching. There's not shortage of practice examples with self-portraiture. Work that I found particularly interesting was by Lee Friedlander, Florence Henri, Cladue Cahun ((Lucy Renee Mathilde Schwob) ) and Elena Brotheras ‘Annonciation’ project. Nikki S. Lea did an intriguing series using snapsjots on the construction of gender, ethnicity, and cultural identity. I'm not convinced of the effectiveness of her approach, but it's certainly different.

I also came across two examples of the use of self-portraiture in creative training, one in the Photographer's Playbook, the other in a US course of practical art instruction.  

The rest of my time has been pretty much focused on completing/updating these CRJ's and designing, creating my Oral Presentation Assignment. The link to my Oral presentation video is here: 

Not the best of faces, but the chesty cold that is still lingering after two weeks of reappearance shifted out of the way enough to speak reasonably clearly. A lot of thought, and time, went into it, not so sure it all works but there it is. My first video speaking and walking whilst facing my own camera.

Technically I had to use the full video rig that I've bought for the Zhiyun mirrorless camera stabilizer. That is fitting the two-hand horizontal adapter, fixing my 7" HD resolution monitor, and rigging up a way to have  a sheet in front of me to read my script. I also had to fit  my very wide 12mm Samyang manual lens to my Fuji T20. I wore glasses so I could make sure I was in focus. Not too heavy. It is tempting to consider a more powerful rig  that could take my much heavier fill-grame DSLR/lens combination, such as that I understand Ronin provides. But do I want more weight to lug around and carry? Trade-off... 

I  finalised my 'Work in Progress' portfolio of fourteen images and four video pieces the day before. The link is on the navigation panel in the top right

I should also mention the excellent presentation given in our last web event of this module by the Polish photographer Michel Iwanowski a few days ago. He gave a very comprehensive account of what led to him undertaking his last project, 'Go Home Polish'. A record of a walking tour from where he currently lives in Cardiff to his home town in Poland. 

Michel Iwanowski via a web-cam screen grab

Michel Iwanowski via a web-cam screen grab

He  gave a lot of useful first-hand comment about applying for Arts Council Grants and how gaining funding helps realize the project in that gaining funding from such a recognized body validates his work with others. His work was also pretty good, though I preferred some of his 'straight' imagery to his more contrived shots.

He finished with the comment that he advises people leave  themselves  plenty of time to arrange things like exhibitions and books, whilst admitting he doesn't actually do that himself.

A situation I can totally relate too as assignment time for each module has involved some quite late nights and early mornings. Avoidable if I didn't leave so much to close to the end.   

My final note is that all is confirmed for the physical exhibition of my 'Distinctively Different exhibition of prints and video from my Croydon Shopkeeper collaboration. Just have to get the publicity flyer done, oh, and the prints printed and mounted...



Chevrier JF, 1986 The Image of the Other in Lingwood, J Staging the Self: Self-portrait photography 1840s – 1980s, National Portrait Gallery.

Butler S, 1986. “So How Do I Look? in Lingwood, J Staging the Self: Self-portrait photography 1840s – 1980s London, National Portrait Gallery.

Wei, S Hotel Self-portrait, task in Fulford J & Halpern G Photographers Playbook (2014) New York, Aperture

Hopkins, J. My Future Self (Part of a teaching block for US 6th grade students studying art, a final project on Self-Portraits), date not stated. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York Accessed from


Russian book images photocopied from: 

Attie, D. 1977 Russian Self-Portraits, London, Thames & Hudson







Surface & Strategies - Week 10

As previously mentioned at this late stage in the module I've finally made the decision to proceed with my self-portraiture sub-project. 

I started the week with the scheduled photoshoot of Reg at La Spezia. At the time I'd thought the shoot had gone well but getting home and looking at the video on a large monitor I was unhappy with the results and have resolved to go back at a muturally conveneint time to repeat it.

I was also able to conduct the photoshoot with my new collaborator, Georgio Rafaelli of La Spezia delicatessen. I discovered from Giorgio that his premises had figured in the infamous 1930's 'The Birdhurst Rise Poisoner' case when three  members of a local family died in mysterious circumstances that were later found to be due to poisoning by arsenic bought from that pharmacy.  

The shoot went reasonably well. Wasn't possible to conduct the photoshoot in the morning as planned, but this simply meant a delay till when Giorgio was available in the late afternoon.

Giorgio Rafaelli behind the entrance to the serving area of his Italian delicatessen./cafe. Graham Land, 7th August, 2018

Georgio Rafaelli at an unusually quiet table in the cafe area of La Spezia

I was also able to shoot a short video. This proved a little more problematic and I'm considering if there's time going back to repeat that aspect. See:

For the first of my new self-portrait shots I decided to take a shot of my face in the semi-reflective LED screen of the blood pressure (BP) monitor that I use to routinely , I had a period of high blood pressure some years ago and whilst I successfully took various actions to reduce it I still take monitor my BP daily in case it comes back. The key is get a reading within 30 mins of waking up, it should have a systolic of less than 130 mm Hg.

It os located between my printer and PC near a North facing uncurtained upstairs window. Setting up the shot early morning. Setting up the LED light proved the most difficult part. In the end it was squeezed in on a light stand where there was just sufficient gap on my large office desk. I'd purchased a 7" remote monitor to allow me to see the view from the camera via it's HDMI port.

I'd thought the shoot went reasonably well, though it did take some 23 shots before I was happy. However, the devil is in the detail when shooting so close with a macro lens and it was all too obvious that I needed to give the desktop surface a serious clean before repeating the exercise. 

Face in BP monitor on a very unclean desktop surface. Taken by Graham Land, 4th August, 2018

Face in BP monitor on a very unclean desktop surface. Taken by Graham Land, 4th August, 2018

So I then moved on to the more  distinct image reflected by the small flat LED control panel of my Epson P800 photographic printer. I was fortunate in that the awaited expiry of one of the ink cartridges it uses had just occurred, so I didn't have to actually operate the printer to have a reasonably interesting screen. Though I did place some cut used paper in the exit tray to make it look as though it was in the middle of a print job. A also decided to use a second, smaller, LED light quite close to my face but out of shot. I only needed ten shots to get the image I wanted, this was what I thought the best of those images: 

Face in control panel of photo-printer. Taken by Graham Land, 4th August, 2018

 This is a very different process to my normal practice. While I spend some time setting up shots for my street fashion work, I don't go to the level of detail and effort  required for this type of image capture. 

Two days later, after a half-day extensive tidy and clean the large office desk and adjacent area, I repeated the shoot with the BP monitor. My previous experience with this set-up greatly helped and within only fifteen attempts I felt I had the shot I wanted. This is that shot:

Face in BP monitor on a very clean desktop surface. Taken by Graham Land, 6th July, 2018

However, another question had arised during the first shot that this repeat hadn't resolved. Wa it best to include my finger as in the shot below:

Face in BP monitor with finger over on/off switch. Taken by Graham Land, 6th July, 2018

The results of that decision can be seen in my August 'Work in Progress" portfolio

The next shot was not set up at all in advance, pure serendipity. I was visiting my dentist in the morning, with a my camera gear and tripod for the scheduled shoot at La Spezia delicatessen/cafe  for my Croydon Shopkeepers project shortly later. 

I have to wait is a small waiting room with a skylight window. The head of my dental practice is very into all things technological and he had installed a cascading water feature on one wall. I took this shot a later when i had a further appointment, and was a lot quieter, to illustrate the room.   

On the day in question there was a beam of sunlight coming directly down close to the left-side of the door, close to the rectangular clock. The waiting room was not empty and I suspect I caused the lady sat in front of the water feature a little worry by looking very intently in that direction. 

I'd decided it could be possible with that strong light to get a reflection of my face. I lacked my remote monitor and release cable, but otherwise had the tripod, the full frame digital camera and a suitable lens. There was a bit of a delay so I went and asked permission to set up a shot. It caused some surprise, and did go up the chain to the boss, but a yes was given so off I went. People very kindly got out of the way, though i didn't actually need that much room. This was the result of a small number of trial shots. The camera  was fired by the delayed release timer function.

Self-portrait, standing by the doorway, the camera tripod mounted at similar height to the photographer. Taken by Graham Land, 7th August, 2018.

I was a little lucky in that for several of the shots I'd accidentally positioned myself out of the thin beam of sunlight, facial features are darker and vastly less effective. On my later trip I showed the dentists at the surgery an A4 print of the image, they are happy for to to do more if wanted.

The next self-portrait of the week was of my face in the alarm clock. An old Casio, it's served sterling service from the time it was originally bought when I was working in Kobe, Japan, to the present. 

Shot at lunchtime I decided half-way through the shoot to change the time to the morning to make it look as though I was about to switch the alarm off. However, in the end I went for this square format shot with the spider carcase. This relic had been carefully preserved during my pre-clean as I'd though tit might give an additional edge to the shot.

Self-Portrait in clockface, taken by Graham Land, 8th August, 2018

The lighting set-up was as follows

Lighting set-up for clock face self-portrait, taken by Graham Land 8th August, 2018

Lighting set-up for clock face self-portrait, taken by Graham Land 8th August, 2018

The final self-portrait of the week was set-up was in the bathroom, the toilet flush as a very shiny chrome surface. I'd earlier tried to get one of myself reflected in the chrome tap of my bath, but this proved a challenge too far. I was finding the realization is not as easy as the concept. This was the chosen image from the toilet flush set-up.

Face reflected in toilet flush handle, taken by Graham Land, 8th August, 2018

That completed my week project-wise. 

This week I bought a book by James Hall on a cultural history of self-portraiture. Largely on paintings he makes the comment "Past interest in the genre has been overshadowed by the obsession with self-portraiture during the last forty years". I presume from this painters are currently doing a lot of it. more to examine. 

I did come across some other good quotes in the research on self-portraiture that I've started. Daniel Rubinstein said in an interview  with Charlotte Cotton; "The Selfie is subversive because the distinction between life and image is being erased… it is the desire to share and be shared that manifests itself in the production of the image”. I'm not quite sure where the self-portrait stands in comparison. Strictly speaking both are the same creature. Susan Sontag's quote on self-portraiture i prefer, though the actual wording isn't so succinct; "The self is a text – it has to be deciphered...The self is a project, something to be built." And another quote I can relate to is thatof Barthes in terms of being photographed: "I do not stop imitating myself … each time I am photographed I invariably suffer from a sensation of inauthenticity, sometimes of imposture”. I'm sure there's a lot more to find. 

Earlier in the week I'd participated in a web presentation given by Dr. Katrin Joost of the University of Cumbria. Talking about reframing illness she stressed the phenomenological aspects of such a project, the hidden context of the illness itself and the effect on those around. Very thought provoking.

My sole contribution was to point Katrin in the direction of the work of Celine Marchbank, a photographer who's  in the final stages of a project called 'My Mother's kitchen'. Where Celine is  representing the presence of the recently deceased mother through domestic shots of her kitchen and recipes written in her mother's hand. I recently saw Celine's work when she exhibited at a photoscratch event, a meeting I described in an earlier blog.

Screen capture of one of Dr. Joost's slides used in the presentation

Screen capture of one of Dr. Joost's slides used in the presentation




Hall, J 2014 The Self Portrait: A Cultural History London, Thames & Hudson

Rubenstein, D 2018 Keeping up with the Cartesians in Cotton, C. “Public, Private, Secret: On Photography & the configuration of the self. New York, Aperture.

Sontag, S 1980 Under the sign of Saturn London, Penguin

Barthes, R 1982 Camera Lucida. London, Village Reprint


Surface & Strategies - Week 9

I will begin this post with the conclusion of the workshop activity i described in the previous one. I had one further meeting on the evening of 30th July, unfortunately only one person was able to come. I recorded their very helpful comments and thanked them for their time.

While people were generally receptive to my ideas on going forward with a group exhibition collaboration I felt the sampling was too samll a number and that I needed to speak to those who couldn't get to either meeting separately, after my current MA assignments were submitted.  

In terms of the comments on my own proposals for my Croydon shopkeepers exhibition a number of useful points came up, some of which I hadn't previously considered. 

This week there was a web presentation from afar, the designer, film maker and playwright Professor Welby Ings, at home in Auckland, New Zealand. We had all looked at his excellent short film, 'Minted', in advance. The beginning of the presenation was more academic, talking about methodological approaches and the cohabitation between disciplines. Providing the following diagramatic example.

Professor Welby Ings; Cohabitation between academic and professional disciplines

Professor Welby Ings; Cohabitation between academic and professional disciplines

This was probably the only part of his presentation that I didn't fully agree with. In such complex interactions you need at least a 3-D diagramatic. Probably too complex to represent easily I admit.

Professor Justin Welby, as recorded by his web cam

Professor Justin Welby, as recorded by his web cam

More fascinating was the insight provided into his creative process and incredible eye for detail by his talking through how he approached and realised his Munted project. I did feel it made my own practice somewhat ill-thought out and chancy compared, and it did also make me consider the level of detail that has to be considered in designing a video production. I suppose that although his film has a documentary style, it only appears 'real' because of the effort put into the staging and the script to make it so. As well as casting etc. of course. Very impressive.

Example of Professor Welby's creative approach through drawing

Project-wise I've been able to secure a week at La Zaris Art Gallery for my exhibition. I'm to have a whole wall and a reasonable amount of additonal space on another wall as well. Here are some shots I took of the two walls.

Full wall available for hanging Croydon Shopkeepers project (Indicated  by brushed area)

Second wall at La Zaris also available for hang, area  indicated by blue brush strokes

In addition the veery kind proprietor, Kish Soobramaney, will re-mount a large TV he previously had sited in the top corner where the clock now is. This could then be used for to show my video pieces. 

The only negative about using Kish's Gllery is it's distance from a station. However, it is close to a bus garage that is fed by at least separate five bus routes.  He is of course one of my latest collaborators too, so it's very appropriate to hold my exhibition there.

Shooting-wise this has been a quiet week. however, I was fortunate to bump into a fellow photographer I knew when I went back to arrange a photo shoot video of Reg and his shop, High Street radio and Photographic during this week. He knew of my project and suggested i consider adding an Italian delicatessen situated off the main road the other side of South Croydon station. So I did, and it's a very distinctive shop indeed. A converted pharmacy a lot of the original features have been carefully preserved, and the shop itself is a bit of an eclectic mixture of cafe and delicatessen. The proprietor, Giorgio, is also quite a character too. I've arranged a shoot for early next week when I visit my dentist for who is based only a couple of streets away. Perfect.

last  week I raised with my tutor, Stella Baraklianou , her thoughts on the two images that I'd put forward as my contribution to the collaborative e-mag the group I'd attached myself to put together (week 3). Here they are again:

'Graham's reflected 1', Graham Land, June, 2018. Created by positioning an LED light close to me face with the camera fitted with a macro lens focused on the two brass wardrobe door knobs.

'Graham's reflected 1', Graham Land, June, 2018. Created by positioning an LED light close to me face with the camera fitted with a macro lens focused on the two brass wardrobe door knobs.

'Graham Reflected 2', by Graham Land, June 2018. The camera was mounted close to the ceiling (tripod on the Utility Room work surface) with a cable release trigger. Again a large LED light was used to illuminate my face.

'Graham Reflected 2', by Graham Land, June 2018. The camera was mounted close to the ceiling (tripod on the Utility Room work surface) with a cable release trigger. Again a large LED light was used to illuminate my face.

I found this exercise particularly enjoyable and was very pleased with the effect. However, I wasn't sure the production of more images on a similar theme, examining myself through my reflection in areas of my own working/living environment would be acceptable as a new sub-project. This week I asked another Cemre Yeşil, for her thoughts on them, she also though it was an approach worth taking forward.. 

Self-portraiture has of course been a common form of painting for many years, James Hall, in the forwards of his recent book on a cultural history of the self-portrait, feels that it in the last forty years painters have become so obsessed with it that some have based their whole career on such portraiture, So it''s certainly a popular genre for painters. Rembrandt, Reynolds, Courbet and Munch have had exihibitions dedicated to their self-portraits.  

Self-Portrait 339, Lake Powell, 2009 by Lee Friedlander

Self-Portrait 339, Lake Powell, 2009 by Lee Friedlander

Lee Friedlander, who I quoted as a signifiganct influence on my two environmental portraiture projects, has had a book published of over 400 self-portraits take by him during his long career. 

Photographically the view of Barthes on having his own picture taken might be appropriate; 'I do not stop imitating myself … each time I am photographed I invariably suffer from a sensation of inauthenticity, sometimes of imposture." Apart from a few shots taken many years ago in front of a mirror and a Christmas ball my own self-portraiture has been pretty non-existent. I don't take selfies with my mobile phone. With the medically-related exception of attempting to record my face to see whether a migraine aura had any effect on my face, which it didn't. 


However, I really enjoyed the technical and aesthetic challenge of framing myself through a reflective surface, and according to Jason in a recent South African article the production of multiple portraits with the aid of mirrors had been the favourite pastime of amateur photographers since the turn of the century. 

In fact one photographer in particular, Florence Henri, often deliberately used a mirror to frame, isolate, double and otherwise interact with her subjects. Producing some very impressive and moody work in the process. du Pont has said that "In Henri’s self-portraits, the mirror is a metaphor for self-knowledge". Interesting.

'Self-Portrait, Taken by Florence Henry, 1938

Self-portrait by Gabriella Achadinha

In the same South African article the Haitian-American photogrpaher Emilier Regnier made the comment "Self-portraiture is the ultimate form of control. We choose what we want to give to the world to see about us.” I can relate to that, though I'd have to add that that control is bounded by the reality of the subject. Another photographer, Gabriela Achdinha, who was interviewed for the  same article, describes self-portraiture ass “An opportunity to exhibit yourself according to your own exact terms. Acting as not only subject but master, holding interpretation in your own hands." This I feel is close to my own view.

The Irish filmmaker and author Mark Cousins, who I photographed at the start of my Researcher's and Influencers project, makes the comment that "Painters have been particularly good at looking at themselves. Their Self-portraits reveal their obsessiveness, neurosis, ego and pathos of being alive." I don't think photographer's are that different.

The Welsh photographer John Paul Evans has produced a large body of work based on the self-portraiture of himself with his older partner, often taken in domestic settings some of it very amusing. It doesn't have to be serious.

rom 'till death us do part' series by John Paul Evans



Hall, J 2014 The Self Portrait: A Cultural History London, Thames & Hudson p.7

O'Hagen S, 2012 In the Picture: Self-Portraits 1958-2011 by Lee Friedlander – review  22nd January edition, Manchester, The Observer/Guardian.  Extracted from

Barthes, R 1980 Camera Lucida p. 13 London, Random House

Jason, S, 2017 On reflection: 6 photographers share their self-portraits and talk portraiture 19th July aerticle in on-line magazine ‘between 10and5’ on—line showcase for South African creative industries, Johannesburg. Extracted from from

Cousins M, 2017 The Story of Looking pp. 61-62 Edinburgh, Canongate.



Lee Friedlander image extracted from

Florence Henri Self-portraits Downloaded from the International Centre for Photography. See

Gabriella Achadinha self-portrait Exctracted from

JohnPaul Evans image extracted from his website, date image captured not provided

Surface & Strategies - Week 8


This week it was all about the workshop, plus a number additional video shoots, going back to a number of my earlier collaborators.

The Old Fox & Hounds, West Croydon, photographer by Graham Land 21st July, 2018

The Old Fox & Hounds, West Croydon, photographer by Graham Land 21st July, 2018

Earlier I had had approached and had acceptances from seven other photographers to take part in a workshop, none said no. All were ones I'd met through the very loose 'Lenses of Croydon' group of photographers. I selected them as having had only slight degree of experience in a workshop but were all photographers who's work I admired in some way and would I feel be receptive to a potential collaborative workshop. Fixing a mutually convenient date gradually proved problematic, and in the end I went for a day that appeared suitable for most; the Friday evening of the 27th July. I'd tried to book a room in Croydon's voluntary action centre but none were available at the time/day wanted, so a large local pub was chosen instead. 

When contacting them I'd described that in our current photography MA module we have to work towards an exhibition for a specific project, in support of which I need to arrange a workshop. My exhibition, which may simply be on-line but could be in a physical space somewhere as well, needs to be held between the 17th and 24th August and will be small subset of a mainly Falmouth MA students collective exhibition entitled ‘Landings 2018’. I also added that I was also interested in the possibility of simply taking part in a collaborative exhibition, which would be held at a later date. But primarily the workshop will be focussed on my own deadline. A also said that I'd like to discuss their view on the best approach; hanging layout, choice of images etc. I finished with some background on my Croydon Shopkeepers project and a link to some images and video of  some of the work. 

Two people said in advance they couldn't make it, but only two people actually turned up; Chris and Mickey. On the night one person rang to apologies and say they couldn't get away and i fixed an alternative slot with them at a pub nearer them on the Monday night, inviting all of those who  couldn't make that the alternative. With hindsight I should perhaps have simply picked a date/time at the Croydon CVA centre and simply given a much wider invite with a cap on maximum number of acceptances. Another approach would have been to go offer two workshop dates, and collated the results of both. But this while this latter approach might have been the most effective, it wouldn't really have fitted with the goal set as that week's task.  

So for that reason I'll review the outcome of the discussions in next week's blog. In the meantime here is a link to a short time-lapse video that I took of this rather small workshop. 

If in a hurry here is a link to a much short version without music


Earlier in the week I'd participated in the web presentation by Laura Nissinen organised by our  module leader. Based in Helsinki  Laura is an ex-professional photographer  who is currently studying for a PhD in the Department of Media at Aalto University, Finland. Her project is entitled "Abstraction in Finnish Art Photography" and has part of this she has been collating as much work she can identify in various archives. Laura's presentation partly on this recent research and also on her own work in abstraction and influences. 

Laura Nissenen; This One's for You Andy (2017) Gallery Nykyaika, Tampere, Finland.

Whilst my interest in the abstract imagery is almost purely as a recipient than a creator, it was interesting to hear how it has fruited relatively recently and that Laura herself has been greatly influenced by the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy. One of the exhibits in 2016 exhibition that Laura hung at Gallery Nykyaika, Tampere; This One's for You, Andy" attracted me. Describes as Ecological Urine Art it took me back many years to the time I was a laboratory technician.

Photographic film developed in the artists urine; Laura Nissenen 2016

Photographic film developed in the artists urine; Laura Nissenen 2016

An example of high resolution electrophoretic separation of proteins (reported by Nowalksi AB et al 2014)

My first career after graduating was has a bioanalyst and chromatographer, analysing substances in biological fluids such as human urine. Chromatography is a powerful set of separative techniques, the name itself comes from colour writing; the original methods used substances like paper and clay to separate coloured ingredients of a mixture. Gel chromatography, or the more modern electrophoretic separation of proteins, can give results not so different from Laura's.

So my assessment was a complicated by a tendency to attempt to look for 'constituents' within each developed roll of film. I guess this shows that when a human looks at an abstract image there is always a tendency to 'see' shapes that are in some way familiar to the observer.

More pertinent to my current practice was Laura's mention of the virtues of Diasec, a patented methodology that allows photographs to be permanently bonded to acrylic sheet, giving higher image definition, brilliant color and a fine detailed texture. Sounded interesting and worth looking into exhibition-wise.

Project-wise I've got back to most of my collaborators and asked them whether they would be happy for me to shoot a short video, similar to that conducted in my La Zaris Art Gallery and Ludoquist cafe shoots. One of my first collaborators is feels they are tied up until September supporting their international sales activities, but so far I'm delighted to say that all other ones approached have said yes. 

Below are links to the results of the video shoots with existing collaborators conducted during this week.

Video taken walking across a road and in to see Sarah working at Morning Str Hair & Beauty, Broad Green, Croydon on 24th July, 2018 (50fps, 1080p)

More successful, the main difficulty was having to avoid looking into the hairdressing section of Sarah's establishment. I did pass across the door, but it's far from obvious she's the proprietor of both. Then the only question was when to stop filming as Sarah worked away.

Video taken walking Northwards along the London Road(West Croydon) to enter Shadi Bakery, passing Adam to see the proprietor, Salal, working with the oven at the back of the bakery,taken on the 27th July, 2018 (50fps, 1080p)

This was a second attempt, the first was stopped when the owner of a large Eastern greengrocers who'd declined my original offer to take part in the project started asking if i wanted to shoot him. Sadly the reason for him declining my original offer, he's about to modernise his shop and want that recorded rather than his current set-up, still applies.  

Adam, a colleague of Salal the proprietor, with  whom my video ends, wantedone of just him working. So I obliged, see below:

Video taken of Adam, a close-colleague of Salal. Sadly this isn't really appropriate for the project as it's not of the proprietor. Taken looking into Shadi Bakery on the 27th July, 2018  (50fps/1080p)

Video taken walking Northwards along Croydon High Street to enter the Audio Centre (Croydon) and see Alfonso Camisotti at work, taken on the 27th July, 2018 (50fps, 1080p)

Alfonso was so happy with the results of the video he asked if I would do one thatfocussed more on the interior of his shop, which I did:

  Video taken entering and inside the the Audio Centre (Croydon), sending with Alfonso Camisotti at work, taken on the 27th July, 2018 (50fps, 1080p)


A busy but fruitful week.



Nowakowski AB et al, 2014 'Native SDS-PAGE: High Resolution Electrophoretic Separation of Proteins With Retention of Native Properties Including Bound Metal Ions' Metalomics Volume 6 pp 1068-1078.

O’Doherty, B 2007 Notes on the Gallery space (chpt 1), in Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, Berkeley, University of California Press.

Azoulay A. 2016 Photography Consists of Collaboration: Susan Meiselas, Wendy Ewald, and Ariella Azoulay Camera Obscura 31 (1) pp 187-201.

Lind, M. 2007 The Collaborative Turn in Lind, M, Billing J& Nilsson L (Eds) Taking the Matter into Common Hands: Contemporary Art and Collaborative Practices, London, Black Dog Press.

Rugoff R. 2003 You talking to me?: On curating group shows that give you a chance to join the group, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative .

Vartanian, I 2009 The Japanese Photobook: Towards an Immediate Media in Vartanian, I & Kaneko, R. Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ‘70s New York, Aperture.





Surfaces & Strategies Week 7

The week began with a very simple task in this week's forum, to take a 'shelfie', photographing a selection of books that reflect our learning. As the theme this week was on photo-books I decided to show the shelf I store photo-books that I've bought with some exihibition catalogues and a few , with the adjacent shelf of various magazines I've recently subscribed to. To make it easier to read I've re-oriented the image. I purposely didn't re-order the books into a 'learning' order as none stand out above the others on this shelf.

I added the comment that somethings like batteries should really be elsewhere. The only answer to my posting was how something that  resonates is put up quickly whilst others take some time before they are placed in the 'right' order. For me this is not really he case, particularly for photo magazines. The more interesting ones spend some time around the house before being shelved. Unlike books with their greater prominence once shelved the magazines tend to become forgotten. Perhaps I should, article content that didn't attract my interest at the time may well do so now.

So I guess for me the lesson is that I shouldn't discount/forget my repository of the image and the written word.  I also made the observation to someone else's posting that an awful lot of my current information is found elsewhere through internet searches and that I wouldn't like to estimate the overall percentage of words read in most of my books. My bookshelves are much more an off-line repository than an indicator of knowledge received.

My focus on photobooks has been disturbed by a felt need to more to arrange the workshop planned for the next week. I plan to produce a draft photobook for my physical exhibition, but too much to do elsewhere this week.

On my workshop I've approached seven members on a local camera group 'Lenses of Croydon' that I belong to to ask them if they would like to take part in a workshop. I explained that I wan't sure at this stage what the final constitution of the Workshop group will be, but explained that for my current photography MA module we have to work towards an exhibition for a specific project, in support of which I need to arrange a workshop.

I added that my exhibition may simply be on-line but could be in a physical space somewhere as well, needs to be held between the 17th and 24th August and will be small subset of a mainly Falmouth MA students collective exhibition entitled ‘Landings 2018’.

My 'carrot was that I was also interested in the possibility of taking part in a Croydon based collaborative exhibition, which could be held at a later date. But I was honest and said that   primarily the workshop will be focused on my own deadline and comment/discussion on my proposals for hanging layout, choice of images etc. would be most appreciated. Along the way I gave a bit of detail on my project, describing as a photographic illustration of a number of distinctive Croydon shops and their proprietor(s).

A date was set the Friday of the Workshop week. With hindsight I should have simply dictated a time. More on this next week. 

Outside of the course I started the week by attending an unusual Saturday event at the Photographer's Gallery; 'Welcome to the Fake: Photography  and the Politics of Authenticity', organised by the Urban Photographers Association as part of their 'The Cities of Light' symposium. Discussing street photography, urban design, communities, the politics of change and gentrification some of the talks were very interesting, however, as is often the case it was the networking sude of the meeting and the opportunity to talk to urban photographers like Bas Losekoot and Paul Halliday. It was clear that whilst Street Photography is a genre tem that is not acceptable to some, similar photographic imagery under a more defined guise, such as urban documentary, is quite acceptable.

Paul Halliday; Image from his 'Close to Nowhere' project

Bas gave to interesting insight to his recently completed Urban Millennium project "In company of strangers" where he shot city commuters in a variety of urban locations across the world. Talking to him afterwards it was interesting how his project had evolved in order to capture more opportunities with remote triggers and the use of a longer lens. The project was started in 2011.

Bas Losekoot; Image from the 'Urban Millennium' Project, a New York commuter captured with the aid of a remote trigger

My own observation on the work that was shown was that the faces were commonly glum and as I'd suspected they'd all been shot in the morning commute. Perhaps time of day should be taken more note of in recording the urban context.  

Bas Losekoot: Image taken of São Paulo commuters (Brazil)  in his "Urban Millennium" project

Interestingly, given this week's context, whilst his project is pretty much completed in terms of shooting he expects it to be at least a year before his planned book comes about, longer than he had expected. Just simply finding the right printer to support it sounded difficult. I understand the higher quality publishers he'd like to use were only interested in working with more established photographers. This fitted with the later talk that was recorded later this week with the Northern photographer, John Darwell and  a variety of conversations I have had at the UK's Street Photography Symposium (last year and the year before).

View of the ground floor of '3 Street Gallery' pop-up exhibition, taken by Graham Land, 19th July, 2018

There was one other event I attended, the opening of a 'pop  up' exhibition in a disused shop space in Carnaby Street called 3 Street Gallery' by Sidewalk photos. Described in advance as 'well curated' with the aim to promote street photography it fulfilled on all fronts. Giving a very reasonable presentation of well captured urban photography. 

The hanging of the prints was done in a fairly standard way, though there was the unusual opportunity on one table to buy signed copies of certain of the prints.

Project-wise I accomplished one additional photoshoot in my Croydon Shopkeepers sub-project, taking the number to eleven. Three weeks before I had invited Nick, one of the proprietors of an unusual shop that had recently opened in Croydon called 'The Ludoquist'.  An unusual combination of a board games venue mixed with a cafe, bar and book reading area. Getting a firm date for a photoshoot had taken some time as both proprietors, Nick and his wife Carrie, were to be included together. This would be my first joint shoot and was not quite as easy to accomplish as I'd hoped.

Slideshow of seven images from the shoot at The Ludoquist; Graham Land, 20th July, 2018

As I'd done at La Zaris last week I also made  a short video using my mirrorless camera mounted on a gimballed hand-held stabilizer. Shot as before at 50fps full HD this can be viewed via the Vimeo link below:

I started opposite their shop and then crossed Croydon High Street to enter and finish standing by Nick and Carrie as they played one of their board games.

I captured their image at a number of locations, starting with this board game. Although the time had been picked for one when they expected to be less busy, it was reasonably populated with several largish groups of players and this proved more of a restriction than I'd envisaged. With hindsight I should have considered inviting them to take part in some shots, maybe.

Carrie was a lot more relaxed than Nick, one of the hazards when you haven't established a relationship with the subject in advance. A fascinating place that gave a much greater choice in location than most of my other collaborator's premises.

As at La Zaris I took both full-frame digital and tripod mounted 6x6 colour film shots. How well the film shots worked I will find out next week, the same roll has my La Zaris shots of Kish Soobramaney.   

The next day i was able to take video of Manoj of N Tapper Shoe and Key repairs at West Croydon, an earlier collaborator.

Video of Manoj of walking to Taps Shoe and Key Repairs, West Croydon by Graham Land, 21st July, 2018 (50fps 1080p)

This shoot unfortunately needs to be repeated. I was experimenting at trying to use manual focus, instead of the auto-focus I used in the two initial shoots. It wasn't too bad until the last scene. I am a little short-sighted and the small viewfinder on a bright sunny day was not easy to use as an aid.



Baptiste R, 2013 Critique of Streeet Photography; Roxanne Baptiste Interviews photographer and urbanist, Paul Halliday, about his experiences of photographing London’s streets over a twenty-year period. Critique of Street Photography website. Access from (August, 2018)

Anon. (n.d.). Urbanization and the Spectacle of the Street: An interview with Bas Losekoot Life Framer website; see (accessed 17th August, 2018)

Woerdman D, 2017. In the Company of Strangers 2nd July interview, Fotolab Kieke (Amsterdam) See (Accessed 17th August, 2018)


Image taken by Paul Halliday from his 'Close to Nowhere project (2002-2012):

Images from Bas Losekoot's Urban Millenium Project; See and




Surfaces & Strategies - Week 6

tarted the week with an interesting talk by a fellow member of the Lenses of Croydon group, Berrnard Miller. His portraits were generally very gritty, as were the nature of the two main projects, LGBT nightlife and boxing.  His portraits were generally very good, not perhaps so strong in terms of context, but good use of colour in those he could use supplementary flash. Apart from a question mark on whether some of the images in his fascinating series on South London LGBTQ late-night were too explicit, but they were certainly real. 

The other event I was able to get to this week was edition 17 of 'Photoscratch', a regular hosting of work in progress by documentary photographers. I've been to a number of these events and while the incompleteness was perhaps not helpful in terms of my new exhibition goal, but this and earlier meetings do show i think that quality always wins over quantity. As usual six photogpraher's work was exhibited. 

Always excellent to be able to speak to the photographers themselves. Naroa Perez had an interesting project where she is experimenting with a variety of materials soaked in a liquid emulsion to both capture and show photographic images. Her theme was cactii, a plant she is fond of.

I need to look further into this technique, not easy but could be a very effective outcome, depending on the narrative to be communicated.

Image from the 'A Stranger in my Mother's Kitchen' series by Celene Marchbank, 2017

Image from the 'A Stranger in my Mother's Kitchen' series by Celene Marchbank, 2017

Celine Marchbank had a very moving and very accomplished project on her relationship to her late Mother via fragments of Mother's presence and shots taken in her kitchen. She's planning to put into a book.

We've been asked to consider spaces, and the many different ways in which images can be exhibited. Whilst I often take pictures of photographs that interest me at exhibitions I go to, it's rare that I attempt to record how they are hung. I sense that will change.

We have a blank canvas.

'The Loft', one of the largest exhibition spaces currently available in Croydon 

'The Loft', one of the largest exhibition spaces currently available in Croydon 

How we chose to hang my exhibition is up to us, much to consider.

I've taken part in the setting up of small exhibitions, these images are from helping hang a recent exhibition by the South West Royal Photographic Society, but someone else has always been the curator.  

Copyright Graham Land; taken 12th July, 2018

Copyright Graham Land; taken 12th July, 2018

As mentioned in my previous blog I've decided to include video in my planned exhibition. In my recent visits to graduation shows I've been impressed how on a number of exhibits the artist has added to their work through  including video, in addition to what is generally their preferred medium. 

I feel my own project could benefit from addition of the moving image. Whether or not I include sound I'm not sure, my initial feeling is just to run it silently, but will experiment with and without to see whether sound adds or detracts to the message. There's so much really powerful video shown daily on TV that I suspect a reasonably high technical standard has to be the default for use as a documentary record.

I don't normally take video. In the dim and distant past I've owned a couple of video recorders. Apart from holiday footage I did take some more documentary shots whilst working in Japan; tripod mounted in my car in the Kansai region and walking through various Asian shopping malls. 

However, this is about to change. I've done a little experimentation in a recent collaboration shooting fashion shots and was highly unimpressed by the jerky hand carried footage that resulted. Looking further into it the solution seems to be a relatively affordable stabilized mount using a gimbal system controlled through small electric motors. It's not a powerful unit but fine for my mirrorless Fuji system and the weight is almost reasonable.

The last component arrived this week and I've taken my first video piece for inclusion in my planned exhibition. A link is shown below.

WITH SOUND - Crossing the road and entering La Zaris Art Gallery & Hairdressers for a collaborative photoshoot with Kish Soobramaney

This was taken just before commencing a photoshoot with the proprietor, Kish Soobramaney. Kish has recently changed the name of his premises from Hairdresser's to Art Gallery. Utilising most of the wall space for hanging his and other's art whilst maintaining income as a practicing hairdresser to a smaller number of clients in the same premises. I've come along several hairdressers who mix their business, but as this was the only one to encompass art exhibition I thought it easily merited an invitation to become part of my project.

As with previous participants I took some images with my medium format Hasselblad, Nikon full-frame camera., Tripod mounted I don't think I quite got the exposure right with my manual light metering for the Hassleblad. This is I think the best of the images taken this  way: 

Kish Soobramaney, proprietor of La Zara Art Gallery and Hairdressers  Copyright Graham Land; taken 12th July, 2018

Kish Soobramaney, proprietor of La Zara Art Gallery and Hairdressers

Copyright Graham Land; taken 12th July, 2018

Generally I don't think I coped well with the very bright conditions, but this is the one of the better digital images.

Kish Soobramaney in the chair he normally occupies when on his own.  Copyright Graham Land; taken 12th July, 2018

Kish Soobramaney in the chair he normally occupies when on his own.

Copyright Graham Land; taken 12th July, 2018

I was trying to connect Kish with his hairdressing business through the wall mounted hair dryer and line of chairs with mirrors and with the Art his gallery shows in separate imagery. At the same time in both images I'm trying to say something about his very outward and buoyant personality. Not sure it worked out well.

The video went better than I'd hoped in that it did seem to connect Kish with his local neighborhood whilst at the same time giving a more dynamic perspective of his shop. I now plan to ask all of the participants in my project if I can take similar short video pieces of walking into their shop from the street.



Lapenta F. 2011 Some Theoretical and Methodological Views on Photo-Elicitation in Margolis, E & Pauwels, L The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods, London, Sage Publications.

Cotton, C. 2014 The photograph as contemporary art, London, Thames & Hudson.


Surfaces & Strategies - Week 5

Started the week with a web presentation (organised by our module leader) by Nhung Walsh, a Vietnamese curator and art professional. She is currently working on a project to represent how Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City has changed, with a particular focus on the loss of old buildings and the effect of the last war of independence against the US. Mentioning the importance given to the annual 'Black April' remembrance activities and the 'day of hatreds' (20th April, 1974). 

Hugh Van Es, 29th April, 1974; An Air America helicopter crew member helps evacuate people from the roof of the American Embassy, Saigon. Part of operation 'Frequent Wind', the helicopter evacuation of over 1,000 Americans and 5,000 Vietnamese from the city.

Hugh Van Es, 29th April, 1974; An Air America helicopter crew member helps evacuate people from the roof of the American Embassy, Saigon. Part of operation 'Frequent Wind', the helicopter evacuation of over 1,000 Americans and 5,000 Vietnamese from the city.

Nhung-apartment show.jpg



Nhung gave some interesting insights on working with groups of artists, including the domestic concerns that can arise when you invite artistic friends to use your own apartment for a six weeks exhibition.

I was left with  the impression that a key to effectiveof curation is making the event happen, assessing who to invite, working with them, acting as their interpreter to the audience. Nhung quoted the phrase " Spheres of environment"; forming a path to understanding.

It did seem that the actual hanging might be the easy bit.



This week we were provided with extensive guidance on a number of activities that will need respectable planning and a high degree of commitment to be successful. These were: a group exhibition (held in the last week of the module), a publication and a workshop. The latter two to be carried out at a time of our choosing.

My reaction is a bit mixed.

On one hand I’m excited at the opportunity to present my work in multiple forms, on the other I’m all too aware this is not something I’ve done before. While some of my work has been accepted and presented in exhibition form my participation in this process has been limited to the odd bit of assistance in the hanging and taking down. Similarly with my various collaborations on photobooks. Others have looked after the curation and presentation aspects.

Generally I’m creating imagery that is of particular interest to me but with increasingly commissioned work and the likelihood of various project works having an external viewing the nature of this audience has certainly affected my choice of shot, though probably not the style in which it’s captured.

After some considerable thought I’ve decided to utilise my existing Croydon shopkeepers sub-project for my exhibition piece. I did consider a utilising a totally novel project, but given the need to present some work immediately and the likely time pressures that would result I decided the more sensible course was to stay with a path I’d already set myself.

However, I’ve been considering including a video element in my practice. This is not something I’ve done in the past but it’s increasingly attractive to me, albeit almost certainly requiring a number of new skills and a host of additional considerations.


To help the Landings 2018 curation team of three of my peers we were asked to give five key words describing our practice/project. After considerable deliberation I chose to describe my project as: Retailing, Different, humanity, distinctive, quirky, shopkeeper.

We were also asked to prove a statement, two example images and our initial ideas on how the final choice of images might be exhibited:

STATEMENT: To illustrate why I found these shopkeepers and their customer presentation distinctive and worthy of record.

One sentence describing roughly where and what your display COULD look like: A simple wall presentation coupled with a screen showing short snippets of video of entry to their shop with a short introduction.

I picked two images, a photograph of Reg Roach, the 88 year old proprietor of a very old fashioned photography shop in Croydon who’s shop gave me the idea for the project and that of an audio/repair engineer Alfonso Camisotti. Taken with my medium format Haseelblad film camera this is probably one of my best images to-date.


Reg Roach of High Street Radio & Photographic, Croydon Photo Centre

Reg Roach of High Street Radio & Photographic, Croydon Photo Centre

Alfonso Camisotti of The Audio Centre (Croydon

Alfonso Camisotti of The Audio Centre (Croydon

The initial reaction to my peers to this was pretty quiet. One person did spot I'd been using an ld film camera. Early days.

I'm hoping that this experience will assist in taking more connecting factors into consideration when I capture images, as  well as providing much greater insight into what's involved in staging an exhibition. I've had some experience in photobook projects but this will be my first as an individual effort. Graphic composition has never been a strongpoint but I hope this experience will to some degree mediate this weakness. 

the biggest change to my current practice will be the inclusion of video and how I integrate this with the prints of my imagery. My initial concept will be to take a short clip from outside street and shoot an entry to the inside of their shop. I've done a little research into this and it would seem a stabilised/gimbal mounting would greatly avoid the shakiness seen when I've attempted to do video as part of my street fashion collaborations. 


My budget doesn't range to the acquisition of a video camera so I plan to make use of one of my existing cameras video mode, my light half-frame Fuji X-T20. This week I've ordered a 'Zhiyun Crane V2', a handheld gimbal stabilizer that has had a number of good reviews working with Fuji mirrorless cameras. If it proves worthwhile I might later consider more significant investment in support of videographic capture with my full-frame kit.

Whilst I know a number my contemporary photographers are both videographers and still-photogrpahers my impression is there's not so many that do it at all equally. On the other hand it's only with recent digital innovation that the two can be reasonably accommodated alongside. This week I did attend the opening of an exhibition 'Against the Grain', profiling the photographic and movie film capture of skateboarding's early years in the 1970's. to the present day. My impression was that whilst movie coverage gave a better feel of the surroundings, and to a degree the moves, it was the still frames that captured the 'moment'. However, I didn't think contemporary practice use of such robust and powerful devices such as the Go-Pro 'Action Camera' was presented and felt the exhibition focus was on the past rather than the present. The recent phenomenon of 'cool dudes' skating down major thoroughfares seemed to be missed.  

More research to do however..


Image Sources (where not by the author)

1) Image of the evacuation of Saigon from a Newsweek article, see (accessed July, 2018)

2) 'Image of an exhibition; a crop taken from a screenshot capture of a web presentation by Nhung Walsh, 2nd July, 2018

Surfaces & Strategies - Week 4

For our forum activity this week we were asked to find an example of a photographic image not made by a human, then share and discuss that image with our peers.

I began with two images. The first was taken as a Monkey ‘selfie’ (Naruto) in 2011, I wasn’t alone amongst my peers in picking this image, it’s quite famous. Shot by the monkey, a rare crested macaque resident of the Tangkoko reserve on the insland of Sulawesi (Indonesia) using the photographer David Slater’s equipment. The use of this image by Slater resulted in a famous copyright case where an animal rights group, ‘Peta’ sued on ‘behalf’ of the monkey. The case was held in the US and resulted in a judgement that the monkey was ineligible to hold copyright over the image. This could also be described as an artistic collaboration, maybe?

Naruto by Naruto , 2011 (David J Slater/Caters News Agency

Naruto by Naruto, 2011 (David J Slater/Caters News Agency

The second, below, is a DCGAN (Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Network)  algorithmically generated digital image of a number of cats. Whilst low resolution, it’s  based on using elements  of over 10,000 photographic images of cats (probably not too difficult to collate in this Instagram age. Whilst low resolution they are very authentic looking constructs.

Xudong Mao, 'LSGAN generating cats in 128×128'

Xudong Mao, 'LSGAN generating cats in 128×128'

This led me to consider whether digitally created images should be considered as equivalent to digital photographs, at least in the expected near-future given the ever improving application of computerised digital imagery. I did note a 2017 reference that illustrates work is now proceeding on doing the same with human faces.

Early days, but here's a recent recently produced gif file of a number of DCGAN images of created human headsots:

Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Network with the aid of Felix Mohr, Data Scientist , 2017

Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Network with the aid of Felix Mohr, Data Scientist, 2017

A search on Google Scholar on “computer generated random images” led me to recent work at the University of Wyoming led by Professor Jeff Clune. Clune’s team used computer generated imagery to assess the capabilities of a cutting edge neural network Artificial Intelligence (AI) programme designed to automatically recognise photographic images. The AI programme appears to have been easily misled. Below are the highest scoring identifications:

Image of the 'top 40' computer generated random images falsely recognised by a visual analysis AI programme (Professor Jeff Clune's team, University of Wyoming, USA) 

Image of the 'top 40' computer generated random images falsely recognised by a visual analysis AI programme (Professor Jeff Clune's team, University of Wyoming, USA) 

Whilst the reason for the mis-analysis of these images by the AI (Artifical Intelligence) algorithm was in many cases far from obvious, this was getting even further away from this week's forum question. So I moved on..

The image below was produced on the (Links to an external site.) site using an algorithm written by Andrej Bauer. It composes an image ‘seeded’ by the set of words that the user types in. Although said to be truly random, if you put the same seed in a second time you get exactly the same result.

Image 'randomly' created by the 'strategies of freedom forum' text seed submitted by the author

Image 'randomly' created by the 'strategies of freedom forum' text seed submitted by the author

In the above case the set of words was: ‘Strategies of Freedom Forum’. I was surprised how pleasant the abstract image was, with a degree of smudged effect generated without human intervention, apart for the word-seed provided. Except these weren’t the first words I put in.

I originally tried ‘FalmouthUniversity’. Not too bad a result, but the seed a bit distant in more ways than one. So I  tried Institute of Photography, with and without blank spaces between the words. Not so interesting. ‘Strategies of Freedom’ was tried next. I liked the word-seed, but not the result. So that’s how  ‘Strategies of Freedom Forum’ came to be applied. There was indeed human intervention.  

And I think that’s the issue with any imagery that we see publicised as being by a non-human source. The image itself may well be authentically produced by a non-human, but a very human selection/exclusion filter has almost certainly been applied along the way.

It may have been produced without human intervention, but I suspect there are many less  interesting images that were put forward for others to see.

We are selective on what we find interesting. The uninteresting or plain tends not to get a look at, even though these may well be the vast majority of images produced. Equally the meaning in our photographs, like the false positives Clune's Neuronal Network identified with ‘99%’ certainty, may not be that intended, The viewer may identify a narrative or visual impact that we did not intend or even perceive. Photographic image value is very much in the eye of the beholder, the creator dos not have to be sentient?.

So does the image creator have to be human? It could be a collaboration after all.


This week we were also asked to reconsider our relationship with our 'preferred apparatus' by not using it, given 24 hours to produce a mini-series of five images.

I interpreted this that my usual camera gear was not allowed.

Full-Frame kit (Nikon) - NO

Full-Frame kit (Nikon) - NO

Half-frame Mirrorless kit (Fuji) - NO

Half-frame Mirrorless kit (Fuji) - NO

Medium format film kit - NO

Medium format film kit - NO

I’ve never used a mobile phone camera in shoots, so that is what I used. It is a new phone that I’ve never used the camera of. (My old one was stolen a few days ago).


One of my Croydon Shopkeeper collaborators premises

A potential collaborator

A potential collaborator

A potential collaborator's doorway in a new sub-project

A potential collaborator's doorway in a new sub-project

The images illustrate the entrance of various current prospect shoots for sub-projects, all involve difficulty arranging a shoot for a variety of reasons.

Not particularly happy with my use of the new apparatus, greater experience would have helped, plus less heat from a very hot summer's day. 



1) ‘Osborne S, 2017 Monkey selfie' case: Photographer wins two year legal fight against Peta over the image copyright. The Independent digital issue, 12th September, 10:30. See (Links to an external site.) (accessed 23rd June, 2018)

Jilicoeur-Martineau A (undated) ‘Meow Generator’, personal website. See (accessed 23rd June, 2018)

3) Mohr F 2017 ‘Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Networks’, From ‘Towards Data Science’ web site. See (accessed 23rd June, 2018)

4) Vanhemert K, 2015 Simple Pictures that state-of-the-art AI still can't recognize Wired 1st May 6.30am, New York, Condé Nast Digital See (Links to an external site.) (accessed 23rd June, 2018)

5) Nyugen A, Yosinki J and Clune J. 2015  Deep Neural Networks are Easily Fooled:
High Confidence Predictions for Unrecognizable Images
IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), Boston. pdf copy at: (Links to an external site.) (accessed 23rd June, 2018).

Bibliographic details at (Links to an external site.)(accessed 23rd June, 2018)

6) Bauer A, 2018, Make your own random picture Random Art website, see (Accessed 23rd June, 2018)



Surfaces & Strategies - Week 3

Whilst like many of my peers I tend to pursue an individual path, I have on a number of occasions chosen to work with others with project with varying degrees of collaboration. And whilst I have at times resisted certain opportunities to work with other my recent practice has pretty much removed such resistance.

Whilst working with other people brings it’s own complications, these are more than offset by the opportunity to capture and create imagery that otherwise would be very difficult to accomplish without subterfuge.

The best current example from my current practice to illustrate such meaning is my interaction with a local camera group; “Lenses of Croydon”. It’s run by one gentleman with the broad and changing assistance of a number of others. With only a few exceptions the organisational roles are very diffuse. It’s run in a very different way to other organisations and groups I’ve taken part in where a ‘ruling’ committee manages the groups activities with much more highly defined roles.

I participate in a number of their meetings, asking the odd question and sometimes taking a few shots of the speaker/demonstrators. The  programme is pretty much the creation of the founder, generally the speakers aren’t paid but are collaborating in the communication of their work and a degree of feedback on future directions.

Similarly other of the group’s events are created by a others in the group, often semi-spontaneously using a collaborative ‘Whats-App’ group. These initiatives, while suggested by one participant, are highly collective in their organisational nature with no particular leader or role-setter.

The founder of the group recently organised a local exhibition, the group acted as a collective with an individual image from each member, the choice solely that of the contributer. For the organisation this Is a collective endeavour. The group also partners with other organisations which have a charitable or social goal. The nature of this sort of partnership is perhaps best described as cooperative.

This type of artistic group is not a new thing, although the growth of internet/mobile based applications makes forming such associations and collaborations much easier. In 1925 two members of the Bloomsbury group, Samuel Courtauld and John Maynard Keynes, set up the London Artists Association that stimulated a number of careers.

Interestingly Thomas Werner in his description of ‘The Team’, a description of a the many potential co-workers in a photographic fashion shoot, feels that how well participants work together is key to to a successful collaborative outcome, even though in this trype of collaboration individual roles are highly defined from the start.

An alternative view of the Artist’s role within a group is provided by Joanna Hedva, Director of Advocacy for the Processing Foundation and event curator. She feels that the artist should always resist the views of others to be truly creative. “…This place is a place of friction, messy and in between: there are no masters here because we’re all standing on the same unstable ground…..”

The collaborative activity undertaken this week proved quite exhilarating and whilst actual collaborative discussion was very limited, the end-result of our ‘photozine’, was reasonably rewarding.  The theme was ‘Selfies’ and I submitted two images that were unlike any images I’ve taken in recent times.

Selfie I - Face reflected by two wardrobe brass handles
Selfie II; Face reflected by the cold water tap in the utility room sink

The images were produced without any significant post-processing. The key was the use of a tripod mounted camera fitted with a 60mm macro-lens with a strong LED light source mounted on a light stand. The rest was up to my positioning.

Project-wise I’m still undecided on what sub-project to pursue this module. I’m pursuing one possible project focussing on certain south London Christian community groups, but my initial approaches wasn’t taken up on and whilst I’ll have one further try next week I’m suspecting this topic should be considered a longer-range target, time is moving on.

I have been getting further background on the final outcome side by going to the open of a number of University’s photography graduation shows hosted at The Trumans brewery in Shoreditch. I laso went on a one day course on ‘corporate photography’, hoping this might show ways to further progress my Influencers and Researchers project. The use of a graduated screen for headshots was useful, otherwise value limited project-wise. More based on studio lighting than I’d recognised before participation.


1) Hassell,G, (undated) London Artists’ Association From ‘Artists Biographies: British and Irish Artists of the 20th Century’ Artist Biographies Ltd., Chesham. See (last accessed 18-7-18)

2) Author not stated, undated Lifestyle and Legacy of the Bloomsbury Group The Tate website, London. See (accessed 17-7-18)

3) Werner, T 2018 The Team, Chapter 4 (pp. 60-95) in “The Fashion Image” Bloomsbury, London


Surfaces and strategies - Week 2 activity

This week was in many ways a retrospective one. We were asked to consider the re-use of a photograph, a similar question to that raised earlier in the course in respect to ‘Fair Use’ limitations of copyright in regard to photographic imagery.

In this case we were pointed to the ‘Joywar’ dispute between the US painter, Joy Garnett and the US Magnum photographer, Susan Meiselas. Garnett Joy used the image of a man holding a flaming Molotov cocktail taken by Meiselas as the basis of a 2003 painting. As can be seen below while there is some artistic change the key imagery is a pretty  close copy of that in the photograph (shown here as a 5x4 crop from the larger 3 x 2 original image).  

Left: Joy Garnett “Molotov, 2003”, oil on canvas, 70×60 inches. Right: A 5x4 detail from Susan Meiselas’s 3 x 2 35mm photograph of a Sandanista fighter in Nicaragua, 16th July, 1979

Left: Joy Garnett “Molotov, 2003”, oil on canvas, 70×60 inches. Right: A 5x4 detail from Susan Meiselas’s 3 x 2 35mm photograph of a Sandanista fighter in Nicaragua, 16th July, 1979

Given that it was clearly artistic re-use and that there had been a number other earlier re-uses of the same Molotov thrower figured in both Nicaragua and elsewhere it was I feel unsurprising Meiselas never sued. In fact in an article on this dispute Garnett commented on the re-use of her own interpretation in a supportive way. In Meisela’s case with some reluctance, though this seems more about the loss of the original anti-repressive government Nicaraguan narrative than infringement on her photographic copyright.

We were asked how we would I feel if someone created an artwork that appropriated, referenced or remixed my image?

I would initially be honoured, assuming it was being re-used in a good or artistic way. In their article on the expropriation of images of Meislas’s photography and Garnett’s painting both creators accepted artistic re-use, albeit Even if the use of my images was in a ‘bad’ way, a term I use for what I view as appalling/shoddy artistic practice, I would probably respect the artists right to be creative in their own way. However, I wouldn’t be afraid to voice my personal opinion of their abilities in re-using my imagery in this way.

Much more difficult is the use of my images in a non-artistic unchanged way, specifically use without attribution or commercial use without consent/payment. My understanding is that it is now common in digital media to re-use images without asking permission or notifying the creator of that image. Working on the principle that they can simply respond by removing the image if requested at a later time or negotiating a fee if they have to. Even worse from the view of the creator a fictitious or null attribution may well be provided. This I feel I would have to react to, contacting the user to request removal or payment. Whether I would go to a more formal legal route is unlikely, cost and time figure in that conclusion.

During research about this question I was alarmed when I came across a commentary by the Canadian legal academic, Lucie Guibault, on two European judgments involving the use of re-sized image thumbnails by a Google image search-indexing engine, Googlebot.

Whilst Google's use was not judged to offend the owners copyright, even though only change was to reduce the original image in size. It was judged that by displaying an image that had been on the author’s website with no specific restriction on use, Google’s search will apparently automatically ignore such tagged images, permission for such re-use was effectively granted.

Because of this no copyright infringement was said to have taken place; “Google was not in breach of copyright because, although the artist had not explicitly consented to the use of the images”. The artist had not blocked her website from being indexed by search engines, thus giving an implicit permission to any search engine to display the thumbnail images.

Interestingly I very recently came across an exhibit on an ongoing project by the London-based photogrpaher Ryan O'Toole Collette where he is collating numbers of similar images captured by otherwise unconnected users of the dating app.'Tinder'. As with Googlebot, the images are unchanged apart from size.

So the issue of re-use is probably more complicated than most people think. Especially for photographers displaying images on websites, Instagram blogs and so on. Fellow photographer Andrew Hawkes wrote an interesting and practical blog-piece on this subject. Not easy.

However, the pendulum may be now swinging back. On the same site as Guibault's article I came across a  more recent 2017 piece; Brad Spitz commented on a new French Act on freedom of creation, architecture and cultural heritage. Spitz highlighted the creation of a compulsory collective management system for the reproduction and communication to the public by search engine services of “plastic, graphic and photographic works”. In other words, Google Images, and other similar services, are likely to pay royalties in France.

Project-wise I’m very much still in the air as to what steps to take next. I want to change my approach to some degree, not so much from unhappiness in my recent photography, more in experimenting with alternative ways of illustrating my subject.

I also wish to initiate  a new sub-project and I’m exploring several possible project ideas as to whether to select one to take forward in the next few weeks.

Deva Mahal at Rich Mix, 16th May, 2018  © Graham Land

Deva Mahal at Rich Mix, 16th May, 2018  © Graham Land

I visited a very interesting exhibition 'Silver Lake Drive' at The Photographers Gallery by the London based US photographer and videographer Alex Prager and was fortunate enough to meet her. Whilst the work exhibited was rooted very firmly in the technicolour past with many images taken on elaborate sets she often presents quite powerful imagery. I particularly liked her film of the tension between a ballerina on stage and her audience and fellow cast-members. Shot in Paris it's both amusing and oddly convincing. Refreshingly different.  

Crowd #3 (Pelican Beach), 2013 © Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Courtesy Alex Prager Studio, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

There was also a retrospective exhibition of the work of the documentary photographer Tish Murtha (1956-2013) called Tish Murtha: Works 1976-1991.. Covering some of the less inviting realities of living and working in certain parts of the UK during the 70's and 80's her work is very powerful. I wasn't sure how many scenes were 'candid' as opposed to posed, but one reason it was difficult to tell was that all the images had impact regardless of how the scene was captured. It was also a testament to the power of black and white in creating a sombre scene. It was also interestingly curated. 

Tish Murtha - Youth Unemployment (1981), Taken by Graham Land at The Photographer's Gallery, prints couresy of The Tish Murtha Archive & Slide Gallery

References quoted

1) Garnett and Meiselas, 2007 On the rights of Molotov Man, New York, Harper’s Magazine (February 2017 Issue). Accessed 9th June, 2018 from  

2) Guibault, 2011 In Defence of a Fair Use Defence, Kluwer Copyright Blog 10th March, Wolters Kluwer NV, Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. See (Accessed 9th June, 2018)

3) Andrew Hawkes, 2017 How to find out who's using your photography online without permission. Andrew Hawkes Website, 16th January. See (2017 - Last accessed 9th June, 2018).

4) Spitz, 2016 New French Act: Google Images will have to pay royalties. Kluwer Copyright Blog, 17th October. Wolters Kluwer NV, Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. See (Accessed 9th June, 2018)

5) Photoscratch #17 event 2018 curated by Hanna-Katrina Jędrosz, 9th July. Hotel Elephant, Spare Street, London . (work in progress from documentary photographers). See (accessed 11th July, 2018)


Image sources

Alex Prager image '#crowd 3 (Pelican Beach, 2013)' downloaded from

Surfaces and Strategies Week 1; Reflections & Project Activity

My current practice is now firmly based around environmental photography. While I did conduct an abortive documentary project on a social campaigner in 2016, my interest in environmental photography had otherwise been weak until suggested as an alternative to my original portraiture project by my tutor. 

My style is evolving, contemporary-wise. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog I’m very interested in Harry Borden’s approach to such portraiture as he has a provides the sort of a natural and relaxed look to his images that I try to capture in my own images. Other contemporary photographers that I try to emulate in my environmental portraiture are Seamus Murphy , Stephen Wilkes and Nadav Kandar. I’m sure there are many others who’s practice I can also learn from.

Image No. 24 from ‘The Republic’ series by Seamus Murphy

Image No. 24 from ‘The Republic’ series by Seamus Murphy

'Lt. Col. David Burke F35 Pilot’ by Stephen Wilkes

'Lt. Col. David Burke F35 Pilot’ by Stephen Wilkes

‘Jimmy Choo’ by Nadav Kandar

‘Jimmy Choo’ by Nadav Kandar

I interviewed Harry Borden a few months ago and one of his key messages about how he conducts his shoots was to be relaxed. This is definitely an area I’ve much to improve on. I also noted how he preferred nowadays to avoid the use of props unless really necessary. This I’m keeping in mind as I’m proposing for my researchers & influences project to include an object that is close to them.

During the week I decided for my forum assignment to re-photograph an earlier picture. I decided to utilise an image I’d taken of Battersea Power Station taken with my first SLR camera from the train on my way back to my digs in South London from Victoria station. I’d moved to work in London at the start of that year from Yorkshire. At the time the image was it comprised two individual power stations, built in two stages, 1939's and 1950's, in the form of a single building with those iconic four chimneys.

Battersea Power Station taken by Graham Land, April, 1973 (Digital scan)

I’ve since taken this route innumerable times and until recently the view of this Battersea landmark has been a constant. Little changing, even after the power station closed in the mid-1980’s and the first abortive development programme removed the roof. 

The activity reminded me of the ‘now’ images of world War II sites  shown a couple of years ago at the ‘Conflict, Time, Photography’ exhibition at Tate Modern, particularly Jerzy Lewczynski’s 1960 photographs of the Wolf's Lair / Adolf Hitler's War Headquarters. I understand he called this type of image the of the "archaeology of photography".

Image of the  Battersea Power Station and 1973 photograph taken by Graham Land, June2018

It wasn’t as easy an activity as I’d first thought and has taken several attempts. Timing was critical as there is only a short window on a moving train to capture the same perspective. I also in hindsight made the error of not taking the same train as I did at that time. The train to Croydon, where I live, follows the ‘standard’ Clapham Junction route on the Western side of Battersea railway bridge. The Beckenham train that I almost certainly used in my original 1973 shot was, as now, using the track on the Eastern side of the bridge, closer to the Power Station. Comparing the then and now images that difference matters. It would also have probably removed the issue of other trains blocking the shot.  

the shot was taken is important, if possible. In the end this image resulted.

Showing that in trying to emulate historical photographs effort to identify exactly where the shot was taken is important, if possible.

Project Activity Review

With reference to how i feel my project  should look movine forward I'm very much in a state of flux. Easiest  to begin with a review of where I've been since beginning this course of study.

Emily, August, 2017

My original project was to portray the edgy effect a degree of androgynous features make to the female face.

Androgyny is a look that has been appreciated in fashion for quite some time, from Coco Chanel through Grace Jones to present day models.

This further evolved to using a lens that is not normally considered suitable for portraiture, a 300mm reflex/mirror lens (on a half-frame DSLR body).

This provided an extra degree of uncertainty from the very narrow depth of field the use of such a lens close-up gives


Charmaine, October, 2017

It also gives a very detailed perspective of the collaborator's features, even with a very soft light. Examples from my project portfolio develped at the end of the first module can be seen here.

At the beginning of the second module I bought a second-hand 500mm reflex lens for my full format DSLR as this larger lens was much easier to focus with. 

I conducted shoots with three different independent collaborators with varying degrees of success.

However, I belatedly I realized part-way through the second module that it was  proving too difficult to recruit suitable collaborators and the use of such a specific set-up was not aiding my own development.


At the advice of my tutor I decided to move to my current theme of environmental photography. 

My second project, which started half-way through my second module, was based on my initial career in pharmaceutical research and development and a later role in promoting innovation as a director of The R&D Society. Entitled "Portraits of Researchers & Innovators – facilitators of a better future’  my aim is to show something of these people in their work environment.  Images from my first shoots for this project can be seen here

Graham Hewson, Imperial Incubator Manager

During the last module I decided to expand my new interest in environmental photography by beginning a sub-project; "Croydon Shopkeepers of Distinction". Images from the portfolio submitted at the end of this last module can be seen here


At the start of this module I'm considering one further sub-project, also on an environmental photographic theme. This I feel will both give me greater challenge and this greater experience will help in my decision for my final major project. 

There are several avenues that i'm assessing, more on this in later blogs. 

A fornight ago I went to the opening of the Central Saint Martin’s graduation show, looking at both their photography MA and various Fine Arts  MA exhibits. Intrigued at the way video was incorporated into a number of Fine art installations, making me wonder again whether I should incorporate video into my own practice. Not quite so excited by most of their photography MA work, some seemed to be straying into different areas of artistic expression with minimal use of photographic means. The week after that, whilst I was on the ACA photoshop course at Falmouth Iniversity I was fortunate to be able to see both their Fine Art degree shows and those of a number of photography genres. 

Orna Kazimi,  Death starts from the right toe  - Mixed media installation; 2018

Orna Kazimi, Death starts from the right toe - Mixed media installation; 2018

Earlier in May I'd visited the Photo London 2018 event and couldn't help but be impressed  by the video installation 'Benefit Supervisor Sleeping' by Charlotte Colbert. Colbert’s work stages Sue Tilley, the model of a famous painting by the same name by Charlotte's earlier collaborator, the painter Lucian Freud. The video was apparently filmed in the original studio where Lucian Freud first painted her.

I took a shot of both the video installation and the montage it was based on.

But you really have to see the video to appreciate the art. Very effective.




Baker, S, 2014 War photography: what happens after the conflict? Daily Telegraph 7th November, 11:40 Accessed 30th June, 2018 from

 Kępa, M. 2012 Jerzy Lewczyński #photography & visual arts on-line magazine 14th Nov.,  (Accessed 30th June, 2018 from

Colbert, C Benefit Supervisor Sleeping Charlotte Colbert website article (Accessed 24th August, 2018)


Soource of images by other photographers shown above

‘Image No. 39’ from ‘The Republic’ series by Seamus Murphy. Accessed 2nd July, 2018 from

‘Lt. Col. David Burke F35 Pilot’ by Stephen Wilkes, accessed 2nd July, 2018 from

‘‘Jimmy Choo’ by Nadav Kandar, No. 9 of an ‘Art of Fashion’ series commissioned by Nieman Marcus. Accessed 2nd July, 2018 from